UN Secretary-General declares “Cancun as the path to a safer, more prosperous, and sustainable world for all”

UNFCC / Jan Golinski

The Cancun meeting will be marked as the leading process to a more robust agreement in Durban, South Africa next year as the outcomes exceeded the modest expectations. UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, said: “In Cancun, Governments reached agreement on a package of measures to build a low-carbon, climate-resilient future together.”

One of the agreements renewed a framework for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The second created a financial and technical support system for developing countries facing grave threats from global warming. The accord also established a multibillion-dollar annual Green Climate Fund to help developing countries cope with climate change.

The Cancun agreements demonstrated that there is hope when it comes to climate change negotiations. “Cancun has done its job,” UNFCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said in a statement. “Nations have shown they can work together under a common roof, to reach consensus on a common cause.”

As opposed to the meeting in Copenhagen where the civil society felt disappointed, Cancun was the setting to regain trust from NGO’s and other key stakeholders. “We are much further than we thought we would be before coming to Cancun,” said Wendy Trio, climate policy director for Greenpeace.

Most importantly, the 12-day meeting in Cancun reached an agreement on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries (REDD+).

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) is a mechanism to create an incentive for developing countries to protect, better manage and wisely use their forest resources, thus contributing to the global fight against climate change as well as national development. REDD+ goes beyond deforestation and forest degradation, and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

“REDD+ means that farmers and rural people in developing countries can now be compensated for the climate services they provide for us all, helping us to avoid dangerous climate change. We will need investments in sustainable agriculture both to reduce pressure on forestland and, primarily, to secure food for everyone. FAO and the UN-REDD Programme partnership will make every effort in supporting countries to meet these critical objectives,” said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director added: “REDD+ could mark a decisive new chapter in humanity’s sustainable management of its nature-based resources while opening up Green Economy opportunities across a suite of challenges and opportunities including jobs and livelihoods for local and Indigenous Peoples.”

Even though, the agreements reached in Cancun were not legally binding, the UN system, the civil society, and governments applauded the progress made during the process.

“I commend Governments for pursuing the path of compromise, a cornerstone of effective multilateralism. In doing so, they have proven that the United Nations can deliver results even on the most challenging global issues of the day,” said Mr. Ban.

Cancun’s results proved that UN climate negotiations aid the progress on combating climate. However, it was highlighted that the important work of cutting emissions and modifying internal polices must take place outside the UN process.

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